Casting while mounted

I was re-reading the mounted combat rules and could not find a rule that explicitly states that a character needs the riding proficiency to cast while mounted in combat, only to attack. It only requires that the caster’s mount remain stationary. Obviously if the mount bolts or the caster is knocked from the mount the spell fails (not to mention the fact that even casters like to use melee once in a while), but the finicky nature of spell-casting made me expect stricter rules, so I wanted a clarification:

Can a character cast in combat while mounted without the riding proficiency?

If no, then can a caster cast while mounted if not in combat?

If yes, then how far away from unfriendly armed people constitutes “not in combat”?

What about casting from a mount when sharing a horse? For example: Say Reginald the mage hired on a henchmen who was a far better rider than he and bought a sturdy warhorse. Could Reginald cast when riding while his henchman steered (in this example the henchman has riding but the mage does not)? I know there are likely few if any military saddles meant to hold two riders on a horse, and taking such a group into melee is likely a bad idea, but a mage might like the idea of being able to run away faster.

On a related note: How strict is this “stationary” requirement? Specifically, if mounted on a flying mount attempting to hover, could a character cast? I would think that, even if a pegasus could hover in place, it would involve an irritating amount of up and down movement that, if anything, is more jarring than a smooth glide. This might be more complexity than is really necessary, but I could see a mount going into a gentle glide to try to make casting as easy as possible (of course, I’m assuming that the stationary requirement is to prevent jostling of the mage, not because the caster needs to stay still for other reasons such as a need to form magic in the air around themselves in a way that doesn’t work while moving quickly, etc.)

Not an Autarch, but I think the ‘do nothing while you cast’ rule is fairly clear. And balancing on a moving steed is ‘doing something’ even if it’s not a combat action.

So I’d say:
No (to be clear, no casting on a moving horse, in or out of combat).
Yes (so long as the horse is standing still…don’t let it wander to munch another flower while you are waving your arms).

Distance determined by Judge based on size, noises, training of horse, etc. A battle is going to spook most horses, and even a warhorse will probably freak in the face of a fireball.

No (flying mount is moving and you are retaining your balance and trying not to fall off, so…no casting).

But that’s just my take.

I didn’t mean to say that the horse was moving for the spell casting example (that was explicitly stated in the rules). I was more interested in the lack of any explicit prohibition of a no-riding proficiency caster casting while mounted on a stationary mount (stationary for purposes of the game at least, i.e. staying in one square).

On second examination, I think I’d rule that if you are threatened by an enemy (i.e. considered engaged for movement purposes) your mount will be moving enough to prevent casting, but otherwise a stationary mount is a stationary mount, so casting is okay, even without the proficiency…

…Until the mount fails a moral check, then you will REALLY wish you had that proficiency.

[Not an autarch, but they haven’t answered things in a few days, so I might as well take a crack at it]

Lacking a rule against it, I’d imagine one could cast atop a stationary mount. Ruling otherwise seems needlessly punitive against casters in wilderness encounters (where they may well begin the encounter mounted), requiring them to blow one turn dismounting, then another to cast.

If the caster is engaged while casting, he’s already begging for the enemy to perforate his squishy flesh, so I don’t think further penalty is necessary, even with a hovering aerial mount. Not sure whether the horse would remain stationary while engaged, as I’m not an expert in such things. If that isn’t the case, then it should disrupt casting.

If it would normally disrupt casting, perhaps a spellcaster with the Riding proficiency should be able to make a throw to keep his mount steady?

By virtue of the Adventuring proficiency, all characters are considered to be capable "trail riders", e.g., they know how to stay on a horse for a day's riding. (As someone who owns two horses and is *not* a capable trail rider, allow me to assure you that simply staying on a horse for a few hours is an incredible feat that involves major swelling and bruises!)

Riding proficiency represents the skill level of a steeplechaser, fox hunter, event jumper, etc. Put another way, if you think of Riding as the ancient equivalent of driving a car, Riding proficiency is the equivalent of someone who drives for a living - a taxi driver negotiating crazy NY streets for example, or a NASCAR driver. You need Riding proficiency to ride in combat.

To answer your specific questions:

A character can cast while mounted provided the mount is stationary and not engaged (= within 5' of an enemy).

Whether a specific instance of movement of some third-party transport counts as jostling is going to depend on the Judge's discretion. Examples:

1) The mage is stationary, standing on Earth, moving around the sun: Stationary! (heh)

2) The mage is stationary, standing on a war galley, moving across the water: Stationary

3) The mage is stationary, sitting in a kayak hurtling through white water: Not Stationary

4) The mage is stationary, sitting on the back of a moving horse: Not Stationary

5) The mage is stationary, sitting on a flying carpet hovering in the sky: Stationary

6) The mage is stationary, sitting on a flying carpet racing through the sky at full speed: Not Stationary

7) The mage is stationary, sitting on a flying carpet slowly drifting through the sky: ... Could go either way. How fast is the wind? Is the carpet being shot at? etc.


Alex, I actually had this come up relatively recently. Do you need the Riding proficiency to cast from (stationary) horseback? I’m assuming yes, otherwise not being able to use a bow from (stationary) horseback would seem weird.

At least it wasn’t “mounted while casting” because that would be a whole 'nother type of forum.

I believe Alex addressed that issue in example #3 above, where the boat was a-rockin’. No spellcasting possible in such an instance.

In other words… don’t bother Knock’in.

Arcane maybe… Divine, well, if someone starts calling out to their patron deity… :wink:

Not all deities are as prudish as Yahweh. Fertility deities are quite common, in fact.

  1. Yahweh’s prudish? Really? Not in my catechism classes.

  2. Yes, fertility deities are quite common. And I never said which deity’s name was being called out.